The 2018 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International (FHI) was buzzing with excitement Thursday as international competitors and young horses performed their dressage tests. By day's end Bobby Meyerhoff led the way in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship with his own Almanac (As Di Volare x Fuerst Aphrodites R).
Meyerhoff piloted the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding straight to the top of the leaderboard on a score of 26.3. Nicknamed "Maniac" in the stables for his occasional erratic behavior, Almanac impressed the judges, and his rider, with his relaxation despite the blustery weather.
"I had a specific plan with him and he warmed up really well," he said. "Yesterday he was a bit fresh and I had to ride him down a little bit and get him where I wanted him, but today was really nice. He went in and did his job. He got a little tense here and there but he was able to keep it under wraps and stay content."
Looking ahead to Saturday's cross-country test, Meyerhoff expects a challenge from designer Derek di Grazia. "It's a nice course. I think there a lot of challenges. Derek has done a great job designing it to look straightforward, nice and pleasant, but knowing his courses and terrain, that's not always how it goes. I think it's going to be a good test."
Only one tenth of a point behind, Caroline Martin is hot on their heels with her own Cristano Z. The 9-year-old Zangersheide gelding earned a score of 26.4. Third place belongs to Jenny Caras and Fernhill Trendy (ARS Vivendi x Cruising Girl), a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, on 27.1 points.
Dressage continues Friday, October 19 as Dutta FHI welcomes the CCI3* riders and the second half of the CCI2* class. The thrilling cross-country phase will be held Saturday, October 20, and the show jumping finale takes place on Sunday, October 21.
It’s the turn of the world’s best Eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.
And they're off! Eventing kicks off today in Tokyo (Thursday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET), with the first of three Olympic dressage sessions. Competitors from 29 nations will go head to head, vying for a spot on the coveted Olympic podium.
There were a few last-minute dramas at the first horse inspection for the Tokyo Olympics which took place in the main equestrian park at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre at 9:30 a.m. JST today.